The official EPA fuel-economy numbers have been posted for the V6 Ti-VCT version of Ford's chunky 2011 Explorer. The 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine produces 292 hp, or 80 ponies more than the outgoing model’s 4.0-liter V6. Despite the power increase, the new crossover returns an EPA-certified 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, which accounts to a 25 percent improvement over the previous V6 model.
“The new Explorer V6 with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) delivers a keen balance between power and fuel economy,” said Jim Holland, chief engineer. “An efficient six-speed transmission mated to this efficient V6 helps Explorer deliver 25 percent better fuel efficiency. This raises the bar for full-size SUVs, and will change buyer expectations for the entire segment.”
In order to achieve this, Ford engineers made the Explorer more aerodynamic, while they also used electric power steering for the first time, reducing parasitic engine drag, alongside a fuel shutoff system and improved engine components to minimize internal friction.
Furthermore, the new Explorer also shaved 100 lb (45 kg) in weight over the previous generation model, partially due to the new unibody structure.
The V6 Explorer will be followed by a 2.0-liter turbocharged model, which according to Ford, is estimated to deliver a 30 percent increase in fuel economy.
By Csaba Daradics